In this part we cover the larger volume frameless backpacks, those larger than 3800 cubic inches (62 L). These are packs appropriate for lightweight backpacking; they hold a bulkier gear kit with a base weight less than 20 pounds (9.1 kg) and total weight less than 30 pounds (13.6 kg). They can also be used for hauling high volume/moderate weight loads over shorter distances, such as the times we perform Sherpa duty to carry family base camping gear to a strategic location.

With this much capacity, many (but not all) of these packs have some type of supplementary support system in the form of removable stays or a removable rigid closed cell foam framesheet. For a frameless pack of this size, with or without the stays or framesheet, proper packing is very important to create a "virtual frame" to assist with load transfer to the hips. See Part 1 for an explanation of the "virtual frame" concept as well as detailed information on selecting and properly using a frameless backpack.


  • Introduction to Part 4 - Frameless Backpacks for Lightweight Backpacking and Load Hauling
  • Trends
  • Selection Criteria
  • Specifications - Frameless Backpacks for Lightweight Backpacking and Load Hauling
    • Evaluation Criteria
    • Ratings - Packs for Ultralight Backpacking and Load Hauling
    • Standouts
    • Standouts Based on Different Situations and Needs
    • Backpacking Light Ratings
  • Overview of Individual Packs

# WORDS: 5250
# PHOTOS: 11

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